The accidential Hacker

Harriet is a struggling painter.. One day she accidentially hacks into someone computer and it turns her whole life upside down


43. Everything goes belly up


*Harri POV*

After breakfast Zac takes my hand and leads me out to the verandah, closing the door behind us. He let out what I think is an exasperated sigh and run his fingers back through his hair. For once I can't read his expression, whether he is mad at me or going to apologise for worrying me. I suddenly feel cold and pull my long knitted cardigan tight around me.

"Mike and I are very close, you know that. He would never, ever, let any harm come to me if he could help it. He will look after me, Harriet, and he will make sure I look after myself." He says.

"I'm s-" I start but Zac puts his hand up to silence me.

"I'm not finished. You know me now. You Know I give everything I have, every single time. I will admit this time I let myself get too run down, but I've learned my lesson. You know what you're getting into, and you've had time to get used to it. I give everything to my work, but I also give everything to you, and I am going to do the same to our kid. This is not at all a commitment I take lightly, and I need you to understand that while I am offered work I am going to keep taking it on and keep pushing myself to the limit. Because one day it won't be there, and I can't slack off just because I've had a scare." He stopped to clear his throat but I can see he isn't done speaking yet. 

 Until now he had been leaning on the railing, facing away from me. Now he turns and takes my hands in his, looking into my eyes. "One day, I want to settle down in a big house with you. Have lots of children and pets, the whole deal. But I have to work while the work is there, Harriet. And so do you. That means we can't always be together, and that means we have to be able to trust one another. I trust you, and I trust your friends to look after you if you need it. I have known Mike for a long time, I trust him with my life. I need you to do the same.

"OK". I say softly.

Zac leads me to the swinging chair on the verandah and we sit down. "I have to tell you something". He says solemnly. "When we met, I wasn't looking for any sort of relationship. In fact I was actively avoiding it. I've told you this before, I just couldn't avoid you. You completely turned my world on its head, and at the worst possible time. You've filled a void I never knew I had, and I love you to my bones. But I don't want you to be worrying about me all the time, or thinking about giving up your dreams and your career

because of me. I want you to be happy and confident and shine, without the burden I can see on your shoulders now".

I meet his gaze. "You're not a burden, Zac. At all. I worry because I care about you".

"I know that. But you shouldn't have to Harriet, I want you to give this some serious consideration while you're away. You've got a month and I want you to really think about whether this is what you want. It's not going to magically change after the baby comes, I wish I could say it would." He says.

My heart suddenly drops to the pit of my stomach. "Wait. Are you breaking up with me?" My head is swimming and everything is spinning. How did we get from me yelling at Mike, to this?

 "No, I'm not. I'm giving you an out. It would almost kill me to let you go, but if it will mean you stop sacrificing your dreams to support me, then I will. I don't want you to answer me now, I want you to think about it. Really think about it." He says, fidling with his hands.

"Zac, I don't need to think about it. There's nothing to think about. It sounds a lot like you're saying you can have your career and love, but I can't because I don't stop caring about you when you're not in front of my face!" For the second time in an hour I have raised my voice without realising, and I struggle to

control it. "You're saying you don't want to be with me if I want to take care of you. That doesn't make any sense."

"That's not what I'm saying at all-"

"Well then maybe you need some time to think". I get up fast and go inside, making a deliberate effort not to slam the door behind me. I go to the bedroom where my bag is mostly still packed and I put in the clean clothes that Tom had brought to the hospital for me. After considering for a moment, I put in the dirty ones as well, deciding I can wash them when I get home.  Packing is easier seeing as I hadn't really unpacked, and by the time I hear Zac come back inside I am changing in to my running clothes. He

leans against the door frame, and I keep my back turned until he take the hint and goes back to the lounge room. 

I take one last look at my packed luggage on my side of the bed and pick up my phone and keys, walking purposefully out the back door. I walk for almost an hour before getting to the running track near the river.

By that point I am fuming, how can he tell me not to care about him, not to worry about him. And how can he so easily offer to let me go, as if I am nothing to him. Picking up speed, I start to jog, and then run. All the time I'd been confined to a hospital room has taken its toll, and running with the fresh river air in my face feels good. 

Before I realise my lungs are burning, half an hour has passed and I turn back the way I had come. Idly

I wonder if I can just run the emotions away rather than cry or vomit them out like I usually do. At the end of the track I don't stop, continuing to run until I am half way home, my legs almost buckling beneath me.

 I stop for a moment to catch my breath before walking the rest of the way at a stroll. Partly because I am tired and want to give my pounding heart and screaming muscles a good cool down, and partly because I know Zac will be waiting when I get home.




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